Thursday, January 15, 2015


When I was not quite six years old we moved to a small town in Western New York called Cassadaga. It was in Chautauqua County. Chautauqua was frequently mistaken for Chappaqua, which was no where near Western New York. Chautauqua County was next to Cattaraugus County. There was a Canandaigua not too far away, in the Finger Lakes area. My nursing school roommate was from there. There were other strange, difficult to spell town names beginning with C in New York, but I learned early to spell them correctly. I can do pretty well with strange sounding words that start with the letter c.

I recently saw a post from a friend on Facebook talking about chikungunya and I thought come again. Chickabunga?  Oh no, it’s cowabunga. Chick - A Fil? No, isn’t that a chicken place? So chicka...what? Chikungunya is the word. I did what any reasonable person does upon seeing a new word, I went to google. Google is nice because if you’ve misspelled the word it gives you the correct spelling. I put “chickungunya” in the search box and was directed to many references for chikungunya starting with the Center for Disease Control, the CDC. I learned that Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitoes. “The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.” Now that doesn’t sound too bad. My son had Dengue Fever once and it sounded kind of similar. He was pretty sick but within a week or so was better.

Well, a clinical description of a disease on a web site really doesn’t convey what it’s like to have the disease. My friend had a fever of 107 degrees, her daughter’s was 106. The joint and muscle pain made you wish for death. A doctor came to see them and prescribed belladonna, which I haven’t seen prescribed in at least 25 years. One of the other names for belladonna is deadly nightshade. It was prescribed for the severe pain my friend had. I’m happy to report she’s back in Hawaii and mostly recovered.

Where do you get this disease? In paradise. My friend, who lives in Hawaii travels to French Polynesia when she really wants to be in paradise. It was her birthday trip. There were many people ill with chikungunya during her visit. Lindsay Lohan was one of them. Sick Lindsay

So, that was the new word and disease I learned recently. I’m probably not at risk for getting it any time soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment